Marblehead resident Steven White is going for a run, a 26.2 mile run to be exact.
The 57-year-old is running the Boston Marathon to raise money for the Ace Bailey Children's Foundation, which was established in memory of Garnet “Ace” Bailey, a Bruins hockey player who was killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11.
The Rhode Island based foundation raises money to help fund the building and renovation of local hospitals and aims to reduce the stress of pediatric hospitalization by creating environments that are less clinical in appearance and more comforting and soothing for children and their families.
The Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston was the recipient of the foundation's funding.
"I can’t believe the job that he’s done and this is his first marathon," said Barbara Pophier, founder of the Ace Bailey Children Foundation and Bailey's sister-in-law. "It feels like a blessing. We’ve known Steve for a while, he’s been involved with the foundation, but to a much lesser extent."
The foundation recently raised the funds needed to build a $165,000 extension onto the pediatric emergency department at the Floating.
The project, Pophier said, should be wrapping up at the beginning of the summer. Some of the money raised in the marathon will go to furnishings, toys and a small play area in the extension.
Thus far White has raised about $28,000 from donations made by friends, family members, business acquaintances and also people who have sought care at the Floating. His goal is $35,000, which he said he's confident he will reach.
"It’s been an interesting road to get donations and hear people’s stories," White said. "When I’m getting dog tired out there and I’m looking for more energy I think about the kids that are getting help and also, Ace Bailey, a fun-loving guy that was in the wrong spot in the wrong time."
Bailey's death strikes a chord somewhat close to home, as White's wife, Meg, was a flight attendant with American Airlines in 2001. Her usual route was Flight 11 - one of the flights that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York Sept. 11. Luckily, White said, Meg was not scheduled to fly that day.
After training for months, the first-time marathon runner is anxiously awaiting for race day to arrive.
He said he doesn't have a goal time in mind, but just wants to finish before the city opens the roads back up to the public.
As for crossing the finish line, he said he hopes he doesn't pass out, and gains inspiration from the children who receive support at the Floating.
"I’m not really looking at my watch but I’d like to finish within a reasonable amount of time," White said. "I’m going to finish the race and I’m going to get it done. It might not be the prettiest thing in the world, but finishing is the primary goal."
To help White reach his fundraising goal, visit his website.